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Plan for Wall Street public market making headway in La Jolla

Rachel Granadino, Luca Bonnanon, Cody Decker and Jodi Rudick with a commendation from Assemblyman Chris Ward's office
State Assemblyman Chris Ward’s field representative Rachel Granadino, La Jolla Village Merchants Association intern Luca Bonnanon, LJVMA President Cody Decker and LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick are pictured with a commendation from Ward’s office for the grand-reopening celebration held in La Jolla on June 15.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is making steady progress toward what it calls its “activation event” for Wall Street. Leaning toward a public market/street fair, the group sent a survey to merchants and completed the request-for-proposal process to find a market manager.

“We want this to be a true community market, a true collaboration of all the community groups,” LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said at the association’s July 14 meeting at the Life Time La Jolla cafe. “I don’t know why we haven’t had one. But every vibrant BID [business improvement district] in the county has a market.”

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association held its first in-person meeting in 15 months June 9 in the open-air courtyard of the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.

Rudick said she conducted a survey of merchants about the public market concept and got 73 responses, or about 20 percent of merchants.

Among other questions, the survey asked about merchants’ confidence in going to outdoor events, whether an event like a street fair would be beneficial for merchants, whether they support a public market concept and what to do with the money generated.

The large majority of responses were positive, Rudick said. The top response about what to do with the proceeds was “put the money back into the community for beautification,” she said.

Using the Ocean Beach Farmers Market as a model, the plan would include closing Wall Street to vehicles one afternoon a week and allowing booths to be set up with produce, crafts, art, demonstrations from local merchants and entertainment.

The plan comes as other groups look at potential uses for Wall Street as a pedestrian plaza and consider events that could take place in the plaza. The idea of a street fair came about to “give people a taste of what it would feel like to have this kind of pedestrian plaza without having to go through 10 years of urban planning,” Rudick said.

Through the RFP process to find a market manager, she selected Community Crops, which facilitates the Ocean Beach Farmers Market.

Over the next month, Rudick said, she will shop the idea to appropriate community review groups such as the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board, research upfront costs and work to gather support from businesses on Wall Street. The intent is to have a formal proposal to present at the next LJVMA meeting.

Other LJVMA news

Commendation: State Assemblyman Chris Ward’s field representative Rachel Granadino presented the LJVMA board with a commendation for its grand-reopening event June 15, in which all local businesses that opened during the COVID-19 pandemic participated in a massive ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Coming events: The board unanimously lent its support to the Oct. 9-10 La Jolla Art & Wine Festival and next year’s Concourse d’Elegance car show.

The Art & Wine Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days and will occupy Girard Avenue between Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street. Proceeds will benefit La Jolla’s public schools.

“The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival is back after a one-year hiatus,” said event planner Laurel McFarlane. “This year, there is going to be a wine afterparty with proceeds going to an art fund to support artists so they don’t have to worry about rent and things like that.”

The Concours d’Elegance, which this year moved to Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine after being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, will return to La Jolla’s Scripps Park in 2022. Proceeds will benefit the La Jolla Historical Society.

Homelessness: After concerns were raised by a local unidentified merchant about a homeless person in The Village who reportedly was yelling and acting erratically, representatives of the San Diego Police Department were on hand at LJVMA’s meeting to answer questions about whom to call and when.

Community Relations Officer Brandon Broaddus said those who see someone who concerns them can call the Police Department’s non-emergency number, (619) 531-2000. “We have a lot of homeless people with mental health issues. … We might not do enforcement, but we can reach out and provide services to them,” Broaddus said.

City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said via Zoom that his office is working with other city departments to proactively reach homeless people who might benefit from outreach services and suggested contacting his office at (619) 236-6611.

Another option is PATH, an organization the city partners with that helps people find permanent housing and provides assistance with case management, medical care, employment training and more. Its number is (619) 810-8600.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association will continue to meet in a hybrid online/in-person model, with the next meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11. The location was not immediately announced. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆